What Are My Career Options in Health Insurance?

The health insurance industry is a vast one with many career choices you could pursue. Keep reading to learn more about these two career paths, including their job duties, requirements and economic outlooks. Schools offering Insurance Billing & Coding Specialist degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Overview of Careers in Health Insurance

Two common professions in the field of health insurance are insurance sales and insurance underwriting. Both career paths will provide information to the public about health insurance as individuals in each field will broker for insurance companies.

Important Facts About Careers in Health Insurance

Health Insurance Sales Agent Health Insurance Underwriter
Required Education High school diploma, bachelor degree benefits career advancement Bachelor degree in business administration, finance or relevant field
Key Skills Research skills Critical-thinking, cautious decision-making skills
Work Environment Professional office setting; travel may be required for scheduled appointments, client meetings Professional work/office setting
Similar Occupations Advertising sales agents, personal finance advisors, sales managers Actuaries, budget analysts, cost estimators, claims adjusters, appraisers, examiners, and investigators

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

Health Insurance Sales Agent

If you specialize in health insurance sales, you will sell policies that cover medical costs and expenses related to sickness and injuries. You could work with businesses and companies seeking group insurance, or you could work with individuals who want to purchase their own policies. A health insurance agent can also sell dental, short-term disability or long-term disability insurance. You might also choose to work as a captive agent, who sells policies for a large insurance company, or you could work as an independent broker.

In addition to having great customer service and sales skills, another way to improve your job prospects is to be multilingual.


To work as a health insurance sales agent, you will might have to obtain state licensure, and the requirements may vary depending on your state. You might also take additional courses to gain more training specific to health insurance. Some schools offer courses in health and disability insurance that cover topics like social security, Medicare, group insurance and individual insurance plans.

Job Outlook and Salary Information

The job outlook for insurances sales agents will be relevant to the effects of an aging population, which creates greater demand for health insurance policies. Overall growth in the insurance industry will also have a positive effect on job growth. The BLS expects a lot of job openings due to turnover and retirement.

As of May 2014, these professionals made an average wage of $63,860 working in the agencies, brokerages and other insurance related activities industry. Insurance carriers paid insurance sales agents an average wage of $63,850. The top-paying states for these professionals included Rhode Island and New York, which offered respective average wages of $88,650 and $80,540.

Health Insurance Underwriter

As a health insurance underwriter, you'll issue policies based on risk assessments. You will analyze information about applicants to determine the risk of losses and whether your company will provide them insurance. When risks are too high for your employing company, you may deny the applicant insurance. When you approve applications, you will also write the policies, determining how much coverage to assign and the rates for premiums.


In addition to education, many employers prefer to hire underwriters who have years of experience in underwriting or health insurance. Since you will work with figures and computers, you may also benefit from gaining training in accounting and technology. You might further demonstrate proficiency in underwriting by obtaining professional certification through organizations like the Insurance Institute of America or The American College. Some employers may require certification.

Job Outlook and Salary Information

Advancements in automation technology and underwriting software may increase productivity and reduce the demand for these professionals. However, the BLS notes that retirement and turnover are expected to lead to job openings. If you have a finance background, you might also have better prospects.

Per BLS statistics, as of May 2014, insurance carriers paid underwriters $70,640 on average, while the agencies, brokerages and other insurance related activities industry offered an average wage of $70,600. The District of Columbia and Connecticut, which offered respective average wages of $93,670 and $90,750, were the top-paying states.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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